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Food truck owners struggling with costs as gas prices soar

As gas prices continue to rapidly increase across the United States, food truck owners are feeling the weight of the rising costs.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For those who drive to work, gas prices have always been front of mind, but perhaps now more than ever as costs continue to rise.

Johnny Wallace, who owns the Johnny T's Fish & Wings food truck in Little Rock said the prices are "terrible" and "senseless."

This isn't his first food truck, but it's a first of another kind – a first to see prices at the pump this high.

"I've been doing this truck for over a year, but I've been cooking for like 20 something years," Wallace said. "Those prices – it's cutting into your profit."

Wallace uses more gas than just what you would think for his truck, but also natural gas in the form of propane for his grill.

Even with the hike in price, he said he won't raise prices.

"That's the only way, but I'm not gonna raise my prices because of something that's going on, I can't do that," Wallace said.

Unfortunately, that may not be how everyone else is thinking. 

Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl at the University of Central Arkansas said many in Wallace's position are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

"If these price increases are disproportionately affecting food trucks and mobile delivery of food, that's going to mean people would rather go to regular restaurants, especially now that the pandemic is dying down," he said. "Or they might just choose to cook at home."

Dr. Horpedahl said we may have to get comfortable with the fact that these services may stop for a time, as it just might not be worth the price.

"I think this is something which, now a lot of them are realizing, that the business model doesn't work if gas prices are this high for this long," he said.

If you're looking for prices to go back to normal anytime soon...don't. Dr. Horpedahl said prices may stay high well after the conflict in Ukraine ends.

Until then Wallace is just hopeful, and wishing this ends soon.

"Just pray that it gets better, that's all I can, just pray it gets better," Wallace said. "Hopefully this doesn't last a long time and it ends quick and it gets back to normal for everybody."

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